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Water works move forward at Columbia Park

POSTED September 18, 2009 11:09 p.m.
The Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to locate the Columbia Park water feature adjacent to Columbia Pool. The water feature will be surrounded by a four foot high wrought iron fence with a gate between the pool and water feature, and a pass-through gate from the water feature to the park.
The Commission held a special meeting on Sept. 9 at Columbia Park for West Side residents to express their concerns about the placement and amenities of the water feature. The commission had discussed closing the water feature to the general public during open-pool hours, between noon and 3:30 p.m.
At the Sept. 16 meeting Rick Harden, public facilities maintenance manager, said that staff recommended a fence similar to the one at Broadway Park. He said that staff also suggested closing the feature to the general public during pool hours, and allowing access only to those who have paid the $1 entrance fee to use the pool. The water feature would be free and open to the public during the rest of the park’s open hours.
JoLynn DiGrazia, founder and director of Westside Ministries, brought several Westside children to the Sept. 16 meeting.
“We’re just thrilled to death about this. But we want to make sure that the pool does not loose swim time,” DiGrazia said.
The concern of both the Commission and Westside Ministries is that families will forgo paying the $1 fee to use the pool, and use the free water feature instead. DiGrazia also expressed concern over the safety of the children using the water feature and pool if the gate to the public was left open.
“I’m worried about kids getting snatched,” DiGrazia said.
Ultimately, the commission decided to construct the fence and two locking gates. They did not vote to enforce any fees, or decide on what hours the water feature will be open to the public. That decision will be made once the water feature is constructed.
“If we find that we have a trend of people not using the pool, we can revisit it later,” said Juliene Flanders, recreation superintendent for the City of Turlock.
The next step in the process is putting the water feature out to bid. The Columbia Park water feature will be on an upcoming Turlock City Council agenda, the date is still to be determined.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.
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